When news broke that Ford was likely bringing back the Ranger pickup truck (along with the Bronco), there was much rejoicing. Now that Mercedes has confirmed -- yes, confirmed -- that it's joining the small pickup brigade next year, the appropriate reaction is probably to look up and see if the sky is falling.
Meet the Mercedes-Benz X-Class concept pickup. While not totally unexpected -- Mercedes has been whispering about this for ages -- its debut is more than a tad bit jarring to the senses. It's going into production next year, but before you get too excited, that doesn't mean you can buy one stateside.
Let's start with the facts. The line of pickups, known as X-Class, is intended to be the "first true premium pickup for the modern urban lifestyle," which is manufacturer-speak for luxury truck that you can drive down congested, narrow lanes without running everyone off the road. As for how big it is, it's what you'd count as a small truck -- think Chevy Colorado or Toyota Tacoma, instead of the full-sized F-150. That makes sense, considering the markets Mercedes is targeting: Europe, South America, South Africa, and Australia.
Inside, it's basically what you'd expect from a modern Mercedes. Plenty of connectivity for your phone, apps galore, quality leather, and so on. There's no word yet on whether Mercedes will offer its glorious seat-massager option, which would be perfect after a long day of work, even if the kind of "work" is more of the daily commute and weekend "football" practice variety.
As for how much of a performer it will be, the X-Class is essentially the next-generation Nissan Frontier underneath a Germanized skin. Renault-Nissan will be producing the truck for Mercedes in both Spain and Argentina.
The idea of a Mercedes truck as a nicened-up Nissan might seem odd at first, but once you get past the novelty, it's actually pretty easy to see it as the start of a trend. Ford's lackluster experiment with a Lincoln version of the F-150 notwithstanding, there's plenty of room to grow in the resurgent small-truck market in the US. A Lexus-ized Tacoma or Cadillac-ed Colorado would be very easy competition for a Mercedes truck, should Mercedes decide to bring it stateside.
For the record, Mercedes should decide to bring it stateside. We're demonstrably thirsty for the practicality of a truck without the ginormity of a full-size, and a sea of luxuriously appointed small trucks makes much more sense on American roads than on the roads where the X-Class will actually be sold.
Want more of the world's best Cars content delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up for our daily email.